Researchers are calling on engineers to help them re-design and test software systems that improve water networks.

Call for engineers to help re-design and test software systems that improve water networks

Researchers at the University of Exeter are calling on engineers to help them re-design and test software systems that improve water networks by, for example, cutting leaks, improving network resilience and reducing costs.

The algorithms that allow engineers to ‘optimise’ complex water networks already exist but are not widely used in the industry because it is not easily understood how they work.

The new project called HOWS, (Human-Computer Optimisation for Water Systems Planning and Management) is a three-year collaborative research project between engineers and computer scientists.

“These systems have a lot to offer but engineers have been reluctant to use them because it’s difficult to comprehend how they work and what they actually do,” says Professor Dragan Savic, from the University of Exeter.

“If we can make it easier for people to realise what’s going on ‘under the bonnet’ and reflect real life engineering issues, we believe that they will have a greater belief in what the systems are telling them to do. In addition the systems will learn from how the engineers use them, enabling a much better solution to be reached”.

The project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and is supported by leading players in the water industry, including Bristol Water and South West Water, engineering specialists AECOM and WSP, as well as specialist software companies SEAMS, Virtalis and XP Solutions.

“Anything that the HOWS project can do to enlighten us and make these tools more accessible to our business would be a great thing”, says Ben Ward, Drinking Water Asset Manager from South West Water, one of the project partners.

“I think it’s really important that we create a system that our engineers can engage with - through visualisation – they can check, challenge results, change things, re-run it. We are going to get benefit from this project.”

For more information on the project please visit the HOWS project website.  

To take part in the project, fill in the questionnaire.

Date: 6 December 2017

Read more University News